- I thought of you as a son once Oliver. I had more in common with you than my own blood, but that's not the reason I'm not going to kill you. Neither is the fact that you are my daughter's brother. The reason you get to live is because death would be a mercy compared to the debt I now owe you!
- — Malcolm Merlyn src
Malcolm Merlyn, born as Arthur King, was a former operative of the League of Assassins, a powerful and wealthy businessman and an enemy of Arrow (Oliver Queen). He was the father of Tommy Merlyn and, after an affair, Thea Queen. He was known under many names, including Dark Archer and Al Sāḥir ("the Magician").
Through his family, Malcolm owned the Merlyn Global Group and was a family friend of the Queen family. Malcolm changed considerably when his wife was murdered by an unknown assailant in the Glades. There were many people who could have helped her, but they did nothing. This shattered Malcolm's faith in humanity, and he became convinced that the Glades is a cesspool of crime and filth. He disappeared for two years, traveling to Nanda Parbat and joining the League of Assassins. While there, he is trained by Al-Owal in multiple combat and assassination techniques.
After he returned, he devised a plan (the Undertaking) to destroy the Glades and rebuild something better in its place, using a device that can simulate earthquakes. He also came to believe that Tommy needed to learn the harsh realities of life. Consequently, Malcolm grew frustrated by Tommy's "chronic irresponsibility and terminal laziness."
Not long after Oliver returned from Lian Yu, Malcolm met with Moira Queen to discuss the vigilante Arrow. He expressed that he was uneasy about him. At first, Moira expected this was because he had a large amount of wealth, but he replied that it was because the vigilante was targeting "The List". Malcolm later invited Moira to talk with him upon short notice. They discuss whether Oliver might actually be the green-hooded vigilante, and he holds up his end of the argument that he strongly believes that Oliver is. After this, he sent a hitman to kill Oliver based on his assumption. After the chaos cleared, Moira threatened to expose him if he ever hurt the Queen Family. Not long after this, Moira became collateral damage in a drive-by shooting, sustaining a concussion. Malcolm visited her while she was recuperating, and Moira reluctantly reaffirmed her loyalty to the Undertaking. It was around this time that Malcolm decided that Tommy was not fit to carry on the family legacy, and nullified his trust fund, an act of "tough love" that ultimately led his son to his first job.
During a Christmas party, Malcolm met Oliver for the first time since his return from the island. Eventually, the subject of the Arrow vigilante came up, and they agreed that he needed a better cryptonym, Malcolm suggests Green Arrow, which Oliver dismissed. Not long after, Malcolm donned his League uniform and began killing people on "The List." He eventually took 5 people hostage, threatening to kill them unless Arrow confronted him. The Dark Archer managed to overpower Arrow and revealed that he knew about "The List," and that its author wanted Arrow dead. However, he was forced to flee before he could unmask his nemesis. Malcolm later orchestrated the kidnapping of Walter Steele, using him as "collateral" to ensure Moira's loyalty. Moira reminded him that thousands of innocent people would die when the League's plans reached fruition, but Malcolm insisted he would feel a sense of accomplishment.
Moira and one of Malcolm's co-conspirators, Frank Chen, decided to assassinate Malcolm, hiring China White and Deadshot to kill him at a fundraiser. Malcolm protected Tommy from White's thugs and was about to revealed his Dark Archer identity to him when he was shot by Deadshot. Though Malcolm was protected by body armor, the bullet was laced with curare, which would have killed him were it not for Tommy and Oliver's timely intervention. As Malcolm recovered, he told Tommy about his time at Nanda Parbat and told Moira there was a traitor in their organization. After making a sufficient recovery, Malcolm assumed the Dark Archer identity again to assassinate Chen, though seemingly remained unaware of Moira's involvement.
Not long after, Arrow received a lead on Walter's whereabouts and discovered that Malcolm was involved in Walter's kidnapping. As the Undertaking neared its end stages, the Dark Archer killed the earthquake device's creator, Brion Markov, as a security measure. Arrow confronted Malcolm in his office, and revealed his dual identity as the Dark Archer, and overpowered Arrow. He unmasked his nemesis and was shocked to see Oliver under the Hood. Malcolm had Oliver chained up in his lair and asserted that he could beat Oliver time and time again because he knew what he was willing to give up in the fight. Believing that Oliver was no longer a threat, Malcolm returned to his office. Unbeknownst to him, Oliver escaped with Diggle's help.
While Malcolm was at his office preparing for things to unfold, Tommy paid him a visit, troubled by the "lies" Oliver had told about them. Malcolm finally revealed his identity as the Dark Archer and the Undertaking. As Tommy expressed his disgust and outrage, Moira held a press conference, exposing Malcolm and revealing her complicity in his plans. Cops arrived not long after to arrest Malcolm. In a fit of rage, Malcolm killed the police officers and disarmed Tommy who had picked up a gun from one of the fallen officers in an attempt to stop his father. Malcolm knocked him out and headed into his panic room, and donned his Dark Archer gear in anticipation for an inevitable final showdown. Arrow arrived in short order, with Diggle as his backup. The Dark Archer injured Diggle and then battled the Arrow on the building's helipad. Oliver was again overpowered but was able to stab Malcolm with one of the discarded arrows. Malcolm still claimed a partial victory, as a second Markov device still destroyed part of the Glades.
Reuniting with Thea
Months later, Malcolm returned, having survived his seemingly fatal injury, and confronted Moira about the revelation that Thea was his daughter. However, Moira had an ace up her sleeve; she had learned of Malcolm's connection to the League of Assassins, and that with the Undertaking, he had violated two of their most sacred tenets, causing chaos where the League preferred order and failing to kill a target. Knowing that Ra's al Ghul would be looking for him, Malcolm was forced to go back into hiding. After Moira was killed by Slade Wilson, Malcolm returned to Starling to check up on Thea just in time to save her from one of Slade's minions and revealed his true relation to her. He urged him to join her, noting that unlike Oliver and Moira, he has never lied to her. Thea responds by shooting him. However, Malcolm had anticipated that Thea's confusion and anger would prompt her to react that way, so had decided to let her get it out of her system, banking on the body armor in his League uniform protecting him. This paid off, and Thea, once cooler heads prevailed, ultimately accepted his offer.
Powers and Abilities
- Indomitable Will
- Martial Arts: Malcolm is a master martial artist and has been able to go toe to toe with deadly fighters such as Oliver Queen and Damien Darhk.
- Occultism: Malcolm possesses knowledge of magic and mysticism, such as the League of Assassins' occult rituals and ceremonies, as well as the workings and functions of the Lazarus Pit.
- Prestidigitation: Malcolm is trained in the art of sleight-of-hand, which is what earned him the nickname "The Magician" by the League of Assassins.
- Peak Human Condition
- Pedagogy: Malcolm trained Thea Queen in martial arts and swordsmanship, as well as Oliver Queen in swordsmanship.
- Tactical Analysis
- Throwing: Malcolm is an expert marksman and can skillfully use projectile weaponry, such as throwing knives.
- Weaponry: Malcolm is highly skilled with many forms of weaponry. He is also highly skilled in knife fighting.
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Arrow and is an adaptation of Merlyn. The original character was created by Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams, and Dick Dillin and first appeared in Justice League of America #94.
- Malcolm Merlyn was portrayed by John Barrowman.
- Before his real name was revealed, Malcolm was just known as "The Well-Dressed Man".
- Malcolm was born on October 13, 1966.
- 78 Appearances of Malcolm Merlyn (Arrowverse)
- 9 Images featuring Malcolm Merlyn (Arrowverse)
- 6 Quotations by or about Malcolm Merlyn (Arrowverse)
- Character Gallery: Malcolm Merlyn (Arrowverse)
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: Year's End
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: The Magician
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: My Name Is Oliver Queen
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: Dark Waters
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: Lian Yu
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: Muse of Fire
- DC's Legends of Tomorrow (TV Series) Episode: The Legion of Doom
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: Corto Maltese
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: The Return
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: Restoration
- DC's Legends of Tomorrow (TV Series) Episode: The Chicago Way
- Arrow (TV Series) Episode: The Thanatos Guild
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